At this year's IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the prototype of the new e-Crafter, a fully thought-out concept for zero emission city centre delivery traffic.
From the very first designs for the new Crafter electric power was incorporated into the plans as a drive system variant, as touched upon by Dr Eckhard Scholz, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, when commenting on the quick creation of the concept vehicle: “The first e-Crafter vehicles will already be in customers’ hands by 2017."
The character of the new Crafter has not been changed by the electric drive system. The concept vehicle continues to offer robust inner qualities, such as outstanding payload capacity, ideal cargo space of 11.3 cubic metres and a maximum cargo space height of 1,961 millimetres. The load width available between the wheel arches is 1,380 mm and the maximum cargo space length is 4,855 mm, thus meaning no changes to the overall dimensions.
With a permitted total weight of 4.25 tonnes the roadworthy concept vehicle is accelerated by the 100-kilowatt electric motor up to the maximum permitted speed of 80 km/h. Both urban motorway and inter-urban journeys are thus no problem. Thanks to maximum torque of 290 Newton metres, which is effectively available without any delay, appropriate performance levels are a piece of cake even with a maximum load of 1,709 kilograms.
The concept vehicle's battery pack, which is made up of 312 cells and has a total capacity of 43 kilowatt hours, is accommodated in space-saving fashion under the cargo space floor. The cargo space capacity thus remains unchanged. Depending on vehicle configuration, the battery unit enables a range of more than 200 kilometres. Subject to sufficient charging current capacity, the batteries can also be charged back up to 80 per cent in 45 minutes.
The e-Crafter's design already takes into account future battery developments, with which – depending on customer requirements and specification – freely configurable ranges of up to 400 kilometres become possible.
These are very interesting prospects for many industries, not just those operating on city centre roads.
The new e-Crafter concept vehicle sets itself apart from the diesel versions through special Reef Blue Metallic paintwork, matching painted bumpers and protective side strips and a blue bar on the radiator grille. The silent Crafter can also be recognised from the front by the signature C-shape of the daytime running lights, the typical identifying feature of Volkswagen electric vehicles.
The cockpit differs from the diesel versions in that it has a 'power meter' in place of a rev counter, a leather steering wheel with blue decorative stitching and titanium black seats with blue trim.
The cargo space is already appropriately equipped for the challenges of tomorrow, that the courier services sector in particular is set to face. The cargo floor elements, including ProSafe load-lashing system, Flex-Rack set-up and Globelyst shelving system, come from upgrade specialists Sortimo. The concept vehicle being shown at the IAA has additionally been given a service station, in which replacement batteries for these special cargo e-bikes can be stored and charged.
The e-Crafter concept vehicle's technical data (IAA 2016):
Drive system: Electric motor
Power output: 100 kW
Torque: 290 Nm
Battery: Lithium-ion (26 x 12 cells)
Charging time: 45 min (at 40 kW DC)
Perm. total weight: 4,250 kg
Top speed: 80 km/h
Range: 208 km
EC kerb weight: 2,541 kg
Load: 1,709 kg
Cargo space capacity: 11.3 m3